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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, Carina Ghionzoli describes the experiences in immigration detention that inspired her to write her new book, The Clank Of Chains, From Trapped To Freedom.

Carina Ghionzoli, author of The Clank Of Chains, on The Table Read
Carina Ghionzoli

Written by Carina Ghionzoli

What do you do when you’re ripped from your world and dropped into a time warp, where only darkness prevails? Where you have to find your light or die…

Immigration Detention

Perhaps that was the question I asked myself when I began journalling after three weeks in immigration detention. Eight and a half months later, armed with twenty journals, I was released.

My detention ordeal plopped me into a dark world, an alternate reality where I was plucked from a modern world and thrown into an old world, a desperate world, a world filled with stories of fear. Sometimes stories of victory. Sometimes stories of lack of humanity or the lack of the value of human life. 

It changed the way I view the world. It changed the way I think about things. In this, I eventually viewed it as I viewed myself. I realized that sometimes things aren’t as they seem, sometimes it’s about mirrors and smoke and underneath it all, there is an ugliness only I could transform. It’s about survival, it’s about faith and my belief in the goodness of humanity. An opportunity  to change it all for the greatest good of all for me.  This is a story of using what you have to get what you want within the confines of  detention. 


One day while lying on my stomach on my bunk, imagining I was lying on the beach, kicking my feet in the air. I was journalling in my composition book. This was a time where I could disappear within the lines of the pages into my own world of writing and imagination. These books were highly valued not only by the sights and sounds written within them but also for the three days cleaning I had to do to earn a dollar a day to buy it.

I suddenly sat up, a voice spoke through me and declared I had to write a book, and call it “The Clank Of Chains”. The four or five women in the cell glanced up when they heard my voice and lazily went back to sleep. Was it divine inspiration? I don’t know, and it was a promise I had to keep. This is a story about breaking the fears of our minds and winning against ourselves. It’s an age-old story, and it’s an International story. A story without boundaries.

Writing In Prison

The book idea flourished as the days, weeks, and months disappeared and what was left were my journals. I walked around the pod countless times. One guard laughingly told me I was creating a path within the cement floors. This was one of my escapes; a meditation, a means to help someone or to listen. Daily life became routine within an abnormal situation, which soon became my normal. The human mind adapts to anything. The small bunk on the top was my space, a tiny world. The outside world was a dim memory. All that existed were the high walls, barbed wired fencing, guards, rules and cement floors.

Talk in the yard was, what are you going to eat when you get released? Where are you going to live? What are you going to do? The laughter and conversations ended with the banging of the yard door and us herded inside the pod. I returned to my small world on top of the bunk. These moments along with others were inspirational for my book. 


I was released, on my recognizance, against all odds by a twist of divine intervention. It was the end of one story and the beginning of a story for another day. I walked out of detention, a different person.

The Clank Of Chains by Carina Ghionzoli on The Table Read
The Clank Of Chains

On my night of release I was throw into a caged van for the last time, without shackles and handcuffs. I was dropped once more into the modern world, and the taste of freedom was terrifying. The world was dark, I was alone, and for a moment I wished I was back in the  what I perceived to be the safety of my tiny world in detention. The thought flitted when I saw there was someone in need. I stepped off the sidewalk and offered my hand…

Life had wiped the slate clean, stripped me of everything from my life before detention. I was left with the clothes on my back, my phone without a charger, and my journals. 

The Clank Of Chains, From Trapped To Freedom

The trek from release to publication was riddled with obstacles, which I walked through and over and won each battle. The book screaming at me to finish with procrastination my constant companion. 

Last year I started a podcast, BreakFear FindFreedom and with gentle nudging from my cohost I eventually took the leap of faith closed my eyes and clicked publish before I could click delete…. 

Now the fun of a new adventure begins!

My book, The Clank Of Chains, From Trapped To Freedom is a journey of self healing and winning against the odds. I was arrested with my son and what happens to him is the missing chapter in the book. I created an NFT with the missing chapter inside. Email your proof of purchase to and I’ll send you details to claim. 

Find More From Carina Ghionzoli


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To buy the book:

BreakFear Find Freedom Podcast:

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